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Gateway degree gives experienced businesswoman the leverage to gain career advancement

Jenni Galek

Jennifer Galek’s Gateway experience has helped her leverage her previous job experiences to increase career growth.

Jennifer owned, operated and sold her own telecommunications company, started up and ran a small non-profit sports group and served on the board for an area chamber of commerce. She also served as a volunteer EMT at an area fire department.

On paper, she seemed poised for a solid payday and even more responsibility. However, a lack of a college degree created a glass ceiling to the growth she sought.

“It was challenging to experience a high-paying job,” says Jennifer. “I am a very ambitious person and I had nothing to show for all of my experiences. I was being utilized by companies but they weren’t willing to value me because I didn’t have a formal education.

“Employers would say ‘You are a golden nugget – but I’m not willing to pay you what you are worth. I don’t have to because you don’t have a degree. You won’t be getting a raise and you probably won’t be promoted, either.’ That’s why I enrolled in college. I want a career that I can’t have right now.

“I knew I would never reach my goals or be rewarded financially without that degree.”

Gateway changed all of that. The Supervisory Management degree graduate says the college helped her to hone her skills and amplified her previous work experience to help her enter a career serving as vice president of a local bank.

“My Gateway instructors taught me some great skills, helped me to gain the tools I need. They teach you real stuff. Information that’s real, that you know you can use.”

- Jennifer Galek

“Of course, I wanted the piece of paper degree and get to the next career,” she said. “But, then, it became a case of my trying to figure out what I really loved doing as a person, as a supervisor or an owner.”

She said it took a visit with her Gateway advisor to realize that Supervisory Management would be the best program to help her reach her career goals. The ability to earn certifications along the way which she could put on a résumé and use to gain a competitive edge in job interviews also appealed to Jennifer.

“My Gateway instructors taught me some great skills, helped me to gain the tools I need. They teach you real stuff. Information that’s real, that you know you can use.

“My Gateway education has been more than I could have asked for. It’s given me skills, yes, but it’s also given me perspective on what I can do in my career.”

Jennifer’s future looks bright. She’s seeking positions at area companies – but now believes she has the tools to better pay and more opportunity for advancement.